By Stephanie Heading
Nearly one hundred pastors and leaders from across Ohio spent six hours recently praying and seeking the Lord and His agenda for their lives, families, churches, and communities. They left the time of prayer, scripture reading, and worship ready to move their churches from prayer activity to a prayer culture.
The SCBO Prayer Summit, a two-day event at Violet Baptist Church March 23-24, featured Daniel Henderson, global leader of The 6:4 Fellowship, leading participants in a unique prayer format, guiding them to draw near to God together in three focus areas – To seek His face more so than His hands; To talk to Him, not just about Him; and To passionately seek to know and intimately relate to Him.
“There is a difference between prayer activity and prayer culture,” said Henderson of the critical role of leadership. “The more vibrant the prayer life of the pastor, the more vibrant the prayer life of the congregation.”
The more vibrant the prayer life of the pastor, the more vibrant the prayer life of the congregation.
According to Steve Hopkins, SCBO senior staff, pastors and leaders came to the Summit with no personal agendas. “We came just to know His heart though an extended time of worship and devotion, responding to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.”
Before the six-hour Prayer Summit, some participants had concerns, according to Hopkins. “The question asked most before the event was, ‘Are we really going to do nothing but pray for six hours?’ However, the most frequent evaluation comment after the day was, ‘The only thing I would change – make it longer.’”
Austin Mathis, Grace Church, Harrison, was one of those concerned about six hours of prayer. “Not going to lie,” said Mathis. “Walking into a Prayer Summit with no agenda was intimidating and uncomfortable – just spontaneous prayer, scripture reading, and worship all day.”
The only thing I would change – make it longer.
However, Mathis discovered his fears were unfounded. “The time just disappeared. It was powerful, refreshing, and life-giving to spend the day seeking God’s face through Scripture-fed, Scripture-led, Worship-based prayer. I am excited to lead Grace Church not just to be a church that prays, but to be a praying church.”
Mathis implemented what he learned during the Summit the very next Sunday at Grace Church. “We introduced a new element to our Sunday morning worship—a powerful time of Scripture-fed, Spirit-led, Worship-based prayer.” Mathis noted that the church experienced a dynamic time of praying in community that completely changed its Sunday morning worship. “I was so encouraged by the response, and I am truly looking forward to this dedicated time of prayer each Sunday.
In addition to Scripture-fed, Spirit-led, Worship-based prayer, pastors and leaders also learned how to create a culture of prayer in the church, moving from sporadic, small prayer gatherings to seeing prayer become a core reality of the congregation.
Prayer grows by experience more than explanation.
“Prayer grows by experience more than explanation,” said Henderson. “We need to provide life-giving prayer experiences for the church. The shared experience of corporate prayer leads to unity. A prayer culture is vital to supernatural mission accomplishment. We must learn to do ministry by inspiration, not imitation.”
Dr. Jeremy Westbrook, SCBO executive director, could not agree more. “Pastors are always ‘one thing away’ from a breakthrough, looking for the next staff member, tool, or building,” Westbrook noted. “We have tried everything but the most important thing. We must prioritize praying and fasting if we are going to see the multiplication we need to reach Ohio.”
Daniel Henderson and Austin Mathis
Nearly 100 pastors and leaders attended the event.
Daniel Henderson of 6:4 Fellowship